Five top tips for successful grant applications

Writing tipsThese tips are written primarily for staff in universities, but students applying for grants may find them useful too.

• Quality applications take time — calculate your chances realistically and apply only for the grants you are most likely to get.
• Make sure you know who your target audience is at every stage of the selection process (there may be several). Identify and exploit all possible sources of information about their priorities. Be creative — use your networks.
• Analyse the funding criteria in depth and ask yourself what is important to these decision-makers — don’t start to write until you know what the funders want.
• Identify the key strengths of your research in terms of the funders’ agenda and make sure these strengths appear in a prominent position in the proposal, e.g. in a summary paragraph at the start.
• Remember that you are competing with many others. Always keep in mind the big picture from the funder’s point of view.

Anne Wilson
2 November 2016